Professor Ian Tomlinson, director of the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham, has teamed up with colleagues in the UK and Denmark to investigate whether early signs of bowel cancer can be spotted in people’s blood stream.
The NHS bowel screening test looks for traces of blood in people’s faeces which can be present when people have bowel cancer or pre-cancerous changes called polyps.
Currently, if blood is detected, the person may be asked to take the test again or meet with a specialist to discuss having a colonoscopy – which looks at the inside of the large bowel.
Prof Tomlinson said that, if successful, the research could lead to a blood test being offered to people who had already had a positive screening test to enable doctors to distinguish between those in need of an urgent colonoscopy and those who could have less urgent investigation.
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